Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old climate change campaigner, is an icon for her generation. But she speaks for all of us, bringing home the truth about the disastrous effects on our wonderful planet of climate change. If only we would all listen.
Instead, many mock the the sincerity of the campaigner. There is a cohort of mostly male, middle-aged media commentators and journalists, largely out-of-touch with reality and with a right-wing agenda, who dismiss her call for change as childish and unrealistic, fueled by liberals. They treat Greta with derision, declaring her a short-lived cult, deserving to be challenged. A commentator from The Times took the criticism further, declaring, “On what basis can someone claim to speak for future generations? Was there a vote? Radical Green religion looks post-democratic.” Such hypocritical comments are perhaps to be expected of a journalistic media which itself is so out of touch with the views and fears of younger generations.
But it is precisely these generations that will have to pick up the pieces of the recklessness of policies of certain governments around the world. We all KNOW exactly what is happening to this planet. Sir David Attenborough et al have been telling us for years. But any measures and policies put in place by governments and environmental organisations are constantly being torn down by commercial interests. It is nothing short of criminal. Short-term financial gain at a catastrophic long-term cost. What do we care – the majority of us will be long gone before the true extent of the disaster becomes apparent. What an outrageously selfish attitude.
And that is precisely why Greta Thunberg is vitally important to the future of this planet. She instigated the school strikes for climate, bringing the very real concerns of children the world over to the attention of media and governments. She has met with some high profile politicians, some of whom actually listened to her. And as she sets sail for the US, refusing to fly, she is inspiring generations to take action to protect our environment and reigniting the urgency over climate change. The younger generations are listening – will the establishment?
Greta is leading by example. Not only is she sailing across the Atlantic on an entirely zero emissions yacht to reduce her own carbon footprint as an example to others, she is also passionately vegan. As we reported last week, the United Nations is encouraging the world’s citizens to adopt a plant-based diet as a way of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional agricultural methods. Greta has taken this to heart – as the PETA UK website explains, “Aware of animal agriculture’s large carbon footprint, the climate activist eats vegan herself, and she challenges those around her to follow her lead.” She has even influenced her parents to turn vegan, again citing the effect of climate change will have on younger generations.
Some mock, others deride and even more deny. But it is the younger generation that is truly fighting for the future of this wondrous planet. And it is a future worth fighting for.
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